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Observing Party Etiquette Question

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#1 Andynator

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:46 PM

This is an etiquette question.  I have visited public observing parties, but have never taken any of my own equipment.  And I understand the reason for public viewing parties is for outreach and recruiting, not necessarily "serious" viewing.

 

I use black plastic toolboxes to store my gear.  What is the viewpoint of having some reflective tape on toolboxes, tripod legs, stuff like that?  Frowned upon or no problem?



#2 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 11:52 PM

I use glow in the dark tape on my Losmandy mount tripod legs to ensure nobody trips or bumps into the mount.

 

It shouldn't be a problem.


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#3 39.1N84.5W

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 12:14 AM

Sounds fine to me. I've seen orange cones, reflective tape, glow tape, even red lights on the tripod legs.
Star parties start out with bright, easy to see objects. Stuff that wows the public. After about an hour the crowds die down and then people start observing more challenging objects. When everyone leaves and it's just folks with scopes then it gets more "serious" although inevitably it turns into a big eyepiece comparison party. Lol!
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#4 sg6

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 01:22 AM

No problem.

At outreach you kind of have to forget a few of the "Star party rules".

People will have white light torches, cell phone photographs will be taken.

 

Tape on boxes and equipment is a good idea at any event, serious or otherwise. Also at outreach a laser pointer will be very useful - again frowned on at many star parties.

 

You could very likely find that a string of flashing christmas tree lights at outreach could be a valuable addition. lol.gif lol.gif

 

Expect questions.


Edited by sg6, 20 July 2019 - 01:23 AM.


#5 Kyphoron

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 01:47 AM

When it comes to outreach or public observing parties I generally say safety of the public is #1. If that means red LEDs to light a pathway, glow tape, reflective items or whatever. We have to make sure the public doesn't trip over gear or walk into tables or cases.

 

I think the thing to remember is that of all the people you show objects to most are going to say "Oh that's cool and move on" some even bring white lights, most of the woman are wearing eye makeup which means EP cleaning. So for me all the astronomy rules typical at star parties are thrown out the window in favor of making sure that the public that does come to outreaches has the best time that they can. 


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#6 Allan Wade

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 09:10 AM

I never get stressed about things like that at star parties. For me, Star parties are social events where there’s generally a bit of stray light expected and the observing is secondary to all the other activities during the week. All of my serious observing happens when I am alone in total darkness.


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#7 39.1N84.5W

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 09:14 AM

The height of this hobby, for me, is to share it with other people. I enjoy all the questions... goofy as well as informed... and it's important to remember that every expert was once a beginner.
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#8 Allan Wade

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 09:22 AM

I will make the general comment that in my travels around the world, that the Okie-Tex Star Party is my favourite event. It has the best combination of sky conditions, and Astro equipment available to try by the friendliest bunch of astronomers around. On top of that it is expertly run by the nicest crew of people. I can whole heartedly recommend anyone try Okie-Tex for themselves.


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#9 NeroStar

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 12:32 PM

I tend to consider outreach events to have a different etiquette standard than does a Star Party that typically contains large scopes and people willing to red-eye til dawn. Outreach events meant to be open to the general public tend to elicit all kinds of starwatcher no-nos, and it may be a waste of time running around trying to enforce light discipline on people who are new to the hobby (not to mention that it could negatively influence their enthusiasm). That's just my opinion.

I've been able to get away with using chemical light sticks (fastened to equipment low to the ground) and laser pointers, but I first ask if anyone minds, or will be doing AP.

For more 'serious' events, most casual observing and observers tend to peel away by 11:30p.m.(ish). I've been amused that the smaller scopes at a large event tend to go silent by midnight and yet, I could still the drive motors and chatter of the more experienced, and presumably serious observers. At those events, I wouldnt even think of using a laser pointer or chem light stick, although I've recently acquired a new kind of low output chemical light stick that gives off a much fainter and longer lasting purple glow that I'm anxious to use at the next large star party. I've preferred these because their glow doesn't descend beyond visual capability all night and risk someone tripping into your gear. You also dont need to worry about periodically 'recharging' with a bright light.

#10 George N

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 01:44 PM

I put everything away that I can - things like scope cases and the long-handle wheel things I use to move my 20-inch Dob around. I also put glow tape on "black things". A couple of friends have found a kind of "glow ribbon" that they tie on tent guy lines - very helpful - but I still trip over them in the dark.

 

I once asked Al Nagler why TV used black eyepiece caps - that are always lost until morning if dropped in the grass at night. He said "Good point!" -- but TV eyepieces still come with black caps.


Edited by George N, 20 July 2019 - 01:45 PM.


#11 Andynator

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 08:11 AM

I put everything away that I can - things like scope cases and the long-handle wheel things I use to move my 20-inch Dob around. I also put glow tape on "black things". A couple of friends have found a kind of "glow ribbon" that they tie on tent guy lines - very helpful - but I still trip over them in the dark.

I once asked Al Nagler why TV used black eyepiece caps - that are always lost until morning if dropped in the grass at night. He said "Good point!" -- but TV eyepieces still come with black caps.


Thanks for the comments, everyone. I really like the idea of using a glow tape rather than reflective tape! I wonder if those are the type that require exposure to sunlight to activate?

And I will add that searching my lawn for lost eyepiece caps was the thing that really kicked this off. I try to leave them in the tray of my toolbox when I remove them, but one or two invariably end up on the ground. I used a paper hole punch to make little circles with reflector tape and stick them to both the inside and outside of the caps. It works pretty well for the plastic caps. Not too well for the rubberized ones.

#12 George N

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 08:57 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I really like the idea of using a glow tape rather than reflective tape! I wonder if those are the type that require exposure to sunlight to activate?

And I will add that searching my lawn for lost eyepiece caps was the thing that really kicked this off. I try to leave them in the tray of my toolbox when I remove them, but one or two invariably end up on the ground. I used a paper hole punch to make little circles with reflector tape and stick them to both the inside and outside of the caps. It works pretty well for the plastic caps. Not too well for the rubberized ones.

Ya.... the 'glow tape' is activated by light. I think 'they' outlawed using Radium a long time ago. wink.gif 

 

…..but the tape glow does last a very long time - hopefully long enough to learn were all the 'black things' are.

 

Yellow eyepiece caps ( I have them! ): https://eyepiececaps.com/



#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 09:27 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I really like the idea of using a glow tape rather than reflective tape! I wonder if those are the type that require exposure to sunlight to activate?

And I will add that searching my lawn for lost eyepiece caps was the thing that really kicked this off. I try to leave them in the tray of my toolbox when I remove them, but one or two invariably end up on the ground. I used a paper hole punch to make little circles with reflector tape and stick them to both the inside and outside of the caps. It works pretty well for the plastic caps. Not too well for the rubberized ones.

 

I put them in a plastic bag for safe keeping. 

 

Jon



#14 csrlice12

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 09:28 AM

Those large round things aren't all trashcans....you can tell the difference by when the screaming starts.


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#15 Andynator

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 09:57 AM

Those large round things aren't all trashcans....you can tell the difference by when the screaming starts.


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